start-up

The Value of Good Content for Business Growth

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The value of good content for business growth is clear when you consider that it generates 3 times as many leads as paid search marketing and is more cost-effective and quicker than traditional outbound marketing, tenfold.

The purpose of content as a marketing tool for businesses then is obvious – it attracts and converts leads, and by being effective in doing so, has become one of if not theleading marketing strategy for lead generation and conversion in the ever competitive digital age. So why is it so effective and how can you get it?

Editorial Content V Marketing Content 

Content today is no longer one entity, but 2 separate things existing in two different sectors entirely. Good content in publications such as magazines and journals is done for editorial purposes; good content on digital platforms like website blogs, e-newsletters and social media is done for marketing purposes. Both aim to drive sales, but indirectly (editorial) and directly (marketing). 

Inbound Marketing & Outbound Marketing 

Content marketing, also known as Inbound marketing, attracts leads through engaging content like videos, blog posts and e-newsletters, to name a few. The more traditional Outbound marketingoutwardly approaches potential leads through the likes of cold calling, trade shows and seminar series.

Inbound marketing is content that’s tailored and targeted to a specific target audience, which has been proven to yield significantly more leads at a fraction of the price. Outbound marketing, however, often has much less targeted methods therefore the costs to generate the same amount of leads is significantly higher and unsustainable in this age’s digital climate.

The Customer Life Cycle

Whether marketing Inbound or Outbound, approaches differ but the customer lifecycle stays the same: 

·     ATTRACT

·     ENGAGE

·     CONVERT

·     RETAIN

The Benefits of Quality Content

Good content, that is content that eventually generates high ROI and further sales, has a unique and identifiable voice across all promotable platforms, and explores subject matter the proposed target market would want to read, watch or listen to. The content life cycle if done successfully through content should yield the following benefits:

1.   Good content attracts an audience and builds brand awareness

Types of content such as blog posts are hugely effective ways to increase website traffic. A study found that the companies that issue 16+ blog posts per month achieved nearly 3.5 times more traffic than those who published 0-4 posts per month. Blogs and other types of content continue to generate traffic to a website and social media channels long after they’re published, so the more post, the bigger your potential lead pool gets.

2.   Good content builds brand perception: increasing the credibility and authority of your brand

High-quality content is often used to reinforce businesses as industry experts. The likes of white papers —an authoritative report or guide— is an example of formats used to promote trust and expertise through content. Good content also improves your SEO rankings and consequent public visibility, and by nature of content being extremely shareable, it’s a great way to become known to unexpected potential leads.

3.   Good content retains an audience through the engagement of interesting subject matter

Also content gives you more touchpoints with potential leads.

4.   Good content increases targeted, relevant leads 

Emphasising the impact content has on brand perception, is the Demand Gen Report of 2016 that found 47% of buyers view between 3 and 5 pieces of content before making the first point of contact with a sales associate. 

5.   Good content over time generates returns on investment and drives further sales.

How Do I Get Content Marketing? 

Content marketing is a 2-part process. First, a content marketing strategy is put in place that identifies your brand USP, target audience and digital distribution channels, then content creators produce content that builds to increase brand perception, audience engagement, website and social media traffic, and lead conversion.

For information on implementing a content strategy and creating content or improving the quality of existing content, visit here

 

 

Business Culture: Two Common Misconceptions Preventing Business Growth

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In many businesses, there are common misconceptions that represent less the business ethos itself, more the traditions businesses have simply become stuck in.

Misled assumptions about where, when and how people should work stifle companies’ ability to reach their actual potential, rather than their perceived potential, especially when rival businesses are now embracing new flexible ways of working. And with the current workplace looking young, bright and (no, not orange) flexible, it’s as prime time as any to set these misconceptions straight.

So here are two common misconceptions preventing businesses from their reaching their actual potential. 

1.   Team Happiness Doesn’t Influence Business Growth And Profit, Just Skills

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By nature of happiness being an emotion rather than a skill that can be measured or applied, it isn’t seen as a direct contributor to business success and therefore largely falls under businesses’ radar, in pursuit of skill-based goals. A business is the sum of its parts, and its constituent parts is the team. 

The happiness of the team therefore, is indispensable to achieving sustained optimal growth. Small increments of going the extra mile as a result of a team member feeling empowered, valued and trusted, are the seemingly small things that over time when multiplied by an entire team, can be the tangible difference between a business being successful, and a business that stands out above competitors. 

2.   The Environment Most Conducive To Productivity Is One Environment, And It’s An Office

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The environments most conducive to productivity have been left largely unexplored in the past under the overbearing weight of dated traditions and stigma around flexible working. What makes someone most productive, equates to anywhere and any time window that makes them most relaxed and focused. 

Depending on the individual and job role, this could be variations of home, a workspace, an office, starting early in the morning or late into the evening. The key misconception here is that there’s one environment most conducive to getting the job done, and that environment is an office to be in from 9 to 5 every day, every week, of every month. 

Once employers realise there are several efficient ways to get the job done outside of these confines, in ways that can not only benefit them by transforming business culture and growth, but the teamby instilling more trust, value and empowerment (A.K.A. happiness), progress can be exponential. 

The ratio of weight businesses apply to understanding how consumer attitudes and environments yield profit and growth, compared to the weight businesses apply to understanding how their team’s attitudes and environments yield profit and growth, is disproportionate and reflective only of their perceived potential, not actual potential, which this can enable.

For more posts on team productivity and business culture, keep in touch with our blog for regular posts on all things business.

In the meanwhile, view the latest article on Business Culture: 3 Ways To Get The Best Out Of Your Team  

 

 

 

 

Business Culture: 3 Ways To Get The Best Out Of Your Team

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Why is Google still one of the leading tech businesses in the world?

It’s not just due to their pioneering technology, but their business culture which creates environments conducive to creating innovating and pioneering technology.

Typical criteria of success among businesses tend to centre on skill sets, digital presence, marketing strategy, and streamlined financials. But what’s not taken into account as criteria for success, is team happiness.

And getting the best out of your team is directly related to how trusted, valued and empowered they feel.  

So what 3 ways can this be done?

The Hierarchy of Team Productivity

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How do you increase team trust, value & empowerment?

1.    Promote flexible work environments such as  ROWE stands for Results Only Work Environment, where as long as the results are reached, team members can work anywhere at any hours.

This independence and level of trust instils a sense of empowerment in that reassures not only ability but builds passion and willingness.

2.    Make sure you have a top-level resource devoted to business growth and development. Specialist business directional and development coaches are invaluable in gaging where a business is, the direction it needs to go, and how to get there in the most streamlined, leanest way possible.

If business development is managed with organisation, structured goals and specialist knowledge, this will filter through to the smooth running of day-to-day operations.

3.    As well as top-level business management, team management is crucial to avoiding overload, burnout and in time, staff turnover. A national survey from the Employment Engagement Series found that 46% of HR leaders say employee burnout accounts for 20-50% of annual workforce turnover. 

Knowing when to outsource extra resources is crucial to making your team feel valued and empowered instead of overworked and forgotten. Gaging when the resource-to-workload ratio is tipping and outsourcing before it negatively impacts the team's interest, motivation, and work delivery, will reap benefits that will generate sustained business growth. 

The importance of workforce retention and turnover reduction is clear and reinforced by a study from Future Workforce and Kronos that found that 87% of employers ranked improving retention as a critical priority matter.Howto retain workforces, while maximising team productivity and boosting business growth, is high on many agendas and the ways outlined above are examples of proven, practical and effective ways to do so.

For more information on team productivity and how it can impact business growth, visit Three major misconceptions preventing business growth

 

The Definitive Guide to Networking Part I: Top 6 Biggest Misconceptions

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Up to 85% of jobs are filled throughnetworking

The top 6 biggest misconceptions of its value therefore, lie in people’s perception of it

Networking for many, serves as a productive means to grow work opportunities and cement business relationships, but for a big portion it’s less an opportunity than an idea; straddled somewhere between a to-do list chore and a benefit with no tangible return.

This ambiguous area of modern business -similar to flexible work environmentsand digital workspaces- can ignite a sense of community in an industry known (and loved) for its independent freedom; or further solidify misled opinion.

So with clarity being key to realising the value of areas like these, here are the 6 biggest misconceptions about networking. 

1.     Networking is self-serving or selfish 

A networking event isn’t about milking a professional’s resources on a one-man goal to get work, it’s instead a mutually beneficial opportunity for two professionals with skills of comparable value, to meet and open a dialogue in pursuit of a long-term relationship resulting in work prospects.  

2.    Successful networking means immediate work 

Some networking can lead to a quick turn around, but much of it can often be long-term with relationships developing organically over time.

Often these types of relationships are the ones that yield the most pivotal and rewarding work; so remember to trust the process, keep the dialogue open and shift your focus from achieving quick results, to nurturing relationships that can open doors in the future.

3.    Networking events are large and daunting

There are many ways to make connections and strengthen your skills in ways that are productive for you. The variety of events include industry-specific talks watched by like-minded professionals, Linkedin group forums, happy hour meet-ups and creative Round Table events aimed at help creatives with queries and direction.

4.     To make networking a success you have to be an outgoing person

Networking is often seen as a by-product of an intrinsic outgoing character trait, but in reality, it's a skill that can be developed with practice and experience.

Once you’ve targeted your desired sector and found the type of event within that industry (as outlined in 3) that works for you, be clear on what you want to get out of it.

Are you looking to grow your clients or get a job? Form relationships or air some skill-specific questions? Having a clear agenda that you’re armed with when attending events, will enable you to target and hone your networking skills.  

5.    Focusing on your strongest, most apparent relationships is key to networking success

Focusing onyour strongest, most obvious relationships, such as professionals within your wider circles, leaves a mass of untapped potential work elsewhere.

Broaden your perception to extend to industries that are less apparent of needing your skillset, and you may be surprised at how much demand there is for your line of work.

Many unassuming sectors have a huge demand for skills but not the resource to accurately find them.

6.     Networking is purpose-built and targeted

Not only are 85% of jobs filled through networking, but a portion of this comes from no specific event in particular, instead, a disposition of being open-minded to opportunities.

Although one opportunity may not be exactly what you’re looking for, it will introduce you instantly to a wider circle of people, all with connections, contacts and fellow professionals working across multiple sectors.

Being open-minded to less apparently useful opportunities is crucial to growing a healthy diverse circle of contacts. 

The value of networking lies in the work, experience and relationships it can yield, proving it as indispensable

3 Essentials To Marketing You & Your Business Online

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You Web Presence Needs To Effectively Communicate Who You Are And What You Do.

Being smart with your marketing ensures that your message gets heard and maximises your success.

Before you start paying for advertising you may not need and get overwhelmed, here are three essentials steps to take to ensure marketing your business online is a success.

1.     Research & Planning

This is all about understanding your customer and developing the right content plan and strategy that speaks to them personally. You have to know who you are talking to and understand them inside and out. Who is your ideal customer and what do they need? What do they want, what are their hopes, their pain points? Now map out content and messaging around that. This gets their attention and gives them a reason to want to connect with you.

This research stage is about getting to know your customer and building a relationship with them, listening to them, and understanding them. 

2.     Discoverability & Relevance

If you Google yourself or your business, what comes up? Are your customers going to find you? Since you’ve done your research in the first instance, you should know where your customers hang out online, what platforms are relevant to them, and what events they attend.

Ensure that you are playing in the right field and are talking to the right people before you spend any money on advertising. Remember, the best time to market to your audience is when they are already interested in your brand. So make sure you are consistent in building relationships, content, and authority in the right places, ensuring your brand’s relevancy and your customers’ interest.

SEO is a powerful tool to help you get discovered, and you can bootstrap to get yourself started

3.     Systems & Tools

The last step is to ensure you have systems and support in place for consistent action. For example, how are you capturing leads? How are you communicating with your customers?

This includes your email marketing and blog posts, but also includes your tweets, Facebook posts, your website copy, etc.

It’s also key to maintain a consistent tone of voice and brand image for your business, so your customers know that it is you speaking across all platforms. That consistency builds trust, and trust leads to real connection with your customers.

In the beginning it can feel like a one-way conversation, but this is why it is so important to have tools and systems in place, so you don’t get overwhelmed or worried.

And when you do start to get too busy to handle yourself or you just want someone else to do it this is when flexible resources come in to play. As a director, owner or entrepreneur, work towards automating or delegating as many of these tasks as possible so you can work on your business by building and maintaining relationships, rather than in your business worrying about SEO and search.

Do you NEED SOME FLEXIBLE support for your business? GET IN TOUCH now to get your free initial consultation.

5 Top Tips To Avoid Entrepreneurial Burnout

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The biggest secret to an entrepreneur’s success? They don’t try and do everything by themselves. It’s a phrase we've probably all heard before, but often we forget to put it into action.

As you’ve started your business, have you ever felt or done any of the following?

·      Feeling like you are running on empty

·      Feeling overwhelmed

·      Taking your work home with you

·      Decreased Productivity

If so, you may be experiencing entrepreneurial burnout, and if you want to ensure any type of success for you and your business, you should make some changes. Get out of a mental rut by changing your scenery and your normal routine. Change your work environment for a day if you can to clear your head. But most likely, you may need some wider changes like re-structuring your business strategy or expanding your team with virtual support to combat this common pitfall.

Here are CoStartup & Go’s top tips to stop and prevent entrepreneurial burnout:

Re-Balance.

This is and will always be the first step. Taking care of your emotional, physical and mental well-being. The easiest and fastest way to bring yourself back to balance is to get a good night’s sleep and to increase your water intake. Balancing your body can go a long way in helping you become more productive as an entrepreneur.

Get Organised. Get Clarity.

Making time to organise yourself and your business will allow for some much-needed strategic vision for the entrepreneurial journey. What people often don’t realise is that as an entrepreneur or startup, there is so much changeable action that occurs and that your business needs to be ready for. Funding doesn’t come through? Pivot your product or service line. Funding does come through? Ramp up your marketing efforts. Being able to execute your plan while staying flexible is a true key to sustained success.

Schedule Breaks.

For entrepreneurs, we know that the clock never truly stops, and that if you want doors to open, YOU are the only one who can make it happen. But creativity and ideas emerge when your mind is still, when you allow yourself to focus on other things, and when you take some time off. Make it a part of your day to take short breaks to allow your brain to expand and your imagination to wander. And make sure you make a conscious effort to shut the laptop down a few nights and weekends.

Delegate.

If you are wondering how you are ever going to get all your work done now that you are sleeping so much and taking breaks – the answer is easy: Focus your work efforts on the most important tasks that add value to your business. Avoid time suckers and tasks that take up much of your time and energy but in the end, can be done by others. Investing in a virtual assistant is so important as it allows you to excel in the areas that you are best at, and you can outsource and collaborate with others on areas you don’t have time for. But don’t limit your scope here – startups and entrepreneurs can use virtual support for social media, web development, bookkeeping, email management, marketing administration, events management and much more.

Gather A Support System.

Going it alone with an idea and a laptop is admirable, but can quickly get lonely and discouraging if you don’t have a smart network around you. Slowly build a support system around you with people whom you can bounce ideas off, keep you motivated, and at times can keep you accountable. Using a flexible co-working space is perfect for fuelling natural relationships. Check out the options at The Office Group for flexible co-working memberships.

Ultimately, success as an entrepreneur isn’t about the number of hours you put in, but about what you do with those hours. Are you using your time wisely? Why not book a free consultation with CoStartup & Go to see how we can help increase your productivity?

Launching A Start Up Is Time Consuming & Exhausting....

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....especially when an entrepreneur is trying to do everything on a tight budget.

It’s critical not to become overwhelmed by an influx of tasks which could be delegated. Knowing when, how and to whom to delegate responsibilities and tasks is critical to your start up’s success.

Outsourcing enables a start up to focus its limited resources on the development of new business opportunities without the expense of a full-time employee.

Your focus should be on seeing ahead to future possibilities and translating them into breakthrough strategies for execution.

At CoStartup & Go we take these tasks off your hands so that you can focus on growing your start up and driving it forward. 

We cover everything from operations, project management to digital marketing, creative design, website development, accounts, HR, recruitment and start up experienced executive assistance.

All managed by our team of experts in each area.

So everything that you need to get your business up and running smoothly.

Contact us for a free consultation at sales@costartupandgo.com 

5 SEO Basics for Start-Ups

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Are you building a start-up and need to know the basics of how to grow your business online organically? Do you have your website and maybe you’ve set up Google Analytics, but you are wondering why your ideal customers aren’t coming to your site and buying your products or services?

SEO, or search engine optimisation, is still one of the most important factors to making your site search engine friendly and getting customers to your site. We love the guides from Moz, SEMRush, and Kissmetrics – but sometimes, it’s good to just have the basic fundamentals for your start-up – without too much technical jargon.

Optimising your website doesn’t have to be difficult – it’s an ongoing process that is essential to growing your business and it is constantly changing. So whether you choose to adapt to the waters and keep up to date with SEO or hire someone to do it for you, let’s take a look at the crucial elements for SEO for start-ups. 

Search Engine Optimisation for Start-Ups

Keywords

When doing keyword research, think about search intent, rather than just search terms. And then make sure that your site actually uses the words that people are searching for. Know your niche and stay relevant in it. We like using Google's AdWords Keyword Tool and Keyword.IO when doing keyword research.

A blog is an excellent way to stay relevant for both your audience and for Google bots as you are constantly updating your site and staying fresh in your industry. Moreover, there is an opportunity here for harnessing rankings for long tail keywords that your audience wants to know more about.

Using a combination of keyword research, Google suggest and related search, plus your customers’ questions and comments can help you in creating a regular content calendar that keeps your brand on the top of the Search Engine Results Page.

Content Creation

One of the keys to SEO is creating and scaling keyword-targeted, valuable, and unique content. It needs to be relevant, helpful, unique, and user-friendly.

This content can be in the form of blog posts, branded images, social media updates, email newsletter, infographics, white papers, e-books, downloadable PDFs, podcasts, video, webinars, workshops – any type of content that a consumer can engage with and consume. The first step in this is to know your audience and how they like to engage with your industry. Then create a funnel that takes your customer from discoverer of your brand to buyer.

And remember, once that content has been created, don't just hit publish. Share it, promote it on a rotating schedule, analyse it, expand it, make it better, mention it to influencers, etc.

Accessibility

Another important factor in improving search traffic is to simply make your site search friendly and accessible to search engines. Search engines are limited to how they can crawl the web and your site, so making your content indexable is an easy way to ensure visibility.

What does that mean? Images should be assigned relevant alt tags, audio and video should have transcripts, Flash content should have HTML text, URL links should have crawlable structures, images should be compressed, pages should load quickly. Does your start-up’s site pass these tests? See what we mean? Quite a bit of work, but worth it to have your site structured in the right way (Let us know if you're stuck here - we can help you).

Also make sure to use Webmaster Tools (Search Console) to make sure your site and its new content are being indexed regularly.

Inbound and Outbound Links

Make sure to link to authoritative and respected sites in your industry to show your brand’s trustworthiness. And in turn, you want other sites to link back to you. Guest posting, commenting on other blogs, and sharing on forums are all great methods for providing this social proof.

But let’s take it one step further. Instead of simply thinking about buying (which Google may penalise you for) or building links, Google is more interested in how your website can earn links editorially. In other words, your website needs to be seen as an authority by other well-trafficked and reputable sites, and you have to earn your stripes with your content and partnerships.

It’s so much more important today to take the time to build relationships with influencers and sites who are willing to amplify your message and content. This can take time, but it’s also where an integrated PR, publicity and content strategy, both online and off, comes into play.

Social Media

Use social media to amplify your content. Schedule consistent social media updates at specified times throughout the day at a schedule that works for you and your audience. It’s not about spamming your customers or readers, it’s about sharing relevant and timely information to your audience and making your brand trustworthy and significant in your industry.

Quick tip - make sure that you are building relationships on Google+ and sharing your content updates there. It may be the outlier in terms of social media, but Google's algorithm makes it a must-have in your social toolbox. 

Do you need help with your site's SEO?

In 2017, great SEO encompasses so many different areas – including email, mobile, links, crawl, user experience, localisation, rankings and much more. Let's face it, a great content strategy takes time and investment.

If you’d like some help in improving and maintaining your SEO for your website, feel free to get in touch with us for a complimentary consultation to discuss the value we can bring to your startup and we can create a customised quote for you. Email us at sales@costartupandgo.com

The Importance of Task Delegation For Start Up Growth

Launching A Start Up Is Time Consuming & Exhausting.. 

....especially when an entrepreneur is trying to do everything on a tight budget. It’s critical not to become overwhelmed by an influx of tasks which could be delegated. Knowing when, how and to whom to delegate responsibilities and tasks is critical to your start up’s success and more importantly to your own health!

Outsourcing tasks enables a start up to focus its limited resources on the development of new business opportunities.

But How?

Practically speaking, it’s important to delegate to the highest qualified and lowest cost individual for each task, and to systemize and automate this process, so that you can better focus on areas of importance to your start up By outsourcing tasks, you get a professional job done without the expense of a full-time employee.

Where Is Your Time Best Focused?

Strategic Vision

Determine and clearly communicate the vision and direction you see for your company, and make sure that everything you and your team do supports this vision. 

Focus on seeing ahead to future possibilities and translating them into breakthrough strategies for execution.

Global Perspective 

Take a broad view when approaching issues by using a global lens and understand in depth the industry and markets in which you are working.

Balance Stakeholders & Managing Conflict

Anticipate and appreciate the various needs of all parties invested in financial outcomes and find the best solutions to issues that arise.

Great leaders know how to handle conflict situations effectively, with a minimum amount of noise.

Build Culture

Establish a positive work culture, where employees feel respected and valued. This is important for the individual, but critical for the company. The employee experience effects how employees perform, and this in turn determines how quickly the company grows.

Provide & Manage Resources

You are responsible for providing resources, in appropriate quantities and at the perfect time, for the company to grow:

Manage Financial Resources 

Incoming: your money, outside investors’ money and cash flow from operations.

Outgoing: Employee salaries, training, benefits, marketing, advertising, interest, taxes, supplies and administrative expenses, to name a few.

Your Support

Build a strong team with qualified individuals in the right roles, bringing the right resources in at the right time.

Other Resources

Manage IT, advisors, strategic partners, professional services, and outside vendors.

As you can see, this last category of providing and managing resources is quite a list. No one person can do it all, or should. You must establish the framework and define the vision and expectations for task execution; however, it is not the most efficient use of your time to attempt to do it all. 

Reduce expenses and employee costs by outsourcing these tasks where possible. 

For example, if you need to create an effective marketing campaign, is it better to struggle through this yourself, hire a full-time employee or outsource the initial campaign to an expert? Until your start up becomes bigger, it can be more efficient to outsource tasks to the person or organization best suited to the job. You provide the direction for what you want done, and a professional familiar with the best execution does it for you.

At CoStartup & Go we take these tasks off your hands so that you can focus on growing your start up and driving it forward. We cover everything from operations, business management and consultancy to digital marketing, creative design, website development, project management and personal / executive assistance.

With CoStartup & Go, you have instant access to professionals with the most experience. Your tasks get done quickly and efficiently, so that you have more time to focus on the fun task of driving your start up forwards!

Check out what we do here

Written by Alexandra Griffin, Operations Executive / Virtual Assistant, CoStartup & Go New York